Let Go Of The Guilt From Your Past
What is the one thing that we all have in common – the one thing that connects each of us? We all have a past, a present and a future. We may not have the specifics exact, but we have these in common. Our past are as different as our futures, but the impact of our past on our future depends on us and our decisions today.
I was reminded a few weeks ago about something that had happened in my past. This was during a time when I did not always make the best choices. When I was reminded of this, one thought persistently stayed with me – you have not changed; you will always be the way you were then. Ever had that happen to you? Where your past weaknesses and failures flash before you just when it seems like you are doing better. We know that Satan uses our past in an attempt to keep us in bondage. But what would you say if I told you that more often than not, it is not Satan, but we ourselves that keep us in bondage to our past. Now do not get me wrong – yes Satan is involved and has a hand in things, but we often help him out. If we could get to the point where we are no longer helping him keep us in bondage, half the battle is won. This morning I want us to focus on one area of our past, our guilt from past sins and failures and their impact on us now.
Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” so in this we are all the same. No one is perfect, no one is without sin, and no one is so clean that they can look down their noses at someone else. I want you to think about your guilt from past sins – not all of them, just the ones where although you have asked for and received forgiveness, you still carry around the guilt – some for years. Those that may have been so bad that you cannot let it go and of course your enemy keeps reminding you of them – when you are not thinking of them yourselves. The times when you failed miserably in your actions. You let yourself, maybe your family or even your friends down. The sins that if anyone knew they’d look at you and say “I cannot believe YOU would do that”. The gui8lt from these sins is what I want you to think about. Those that although you have tried to forget their memory, they remain vividly before you – ever a present reminder of a time when you were not at your best. Do you have it? Can you see it now? Okay, now that all of us have that one thing, I want you to turn to your neighbor and confess it to them – just kidding. The sins that cause you to almost panic if those close to you found out about them are those that we tend to carry with us and give us the most guilt. Now I am not saying that you need to tell all your business to everyone in order to feel free, but what I am saying is that you must understand the impact of walking with the guilt of those sins once you have been set free. Look at Psalms 32. It is one of the Psalms of David that paints a very vivid picture of what guilt can do to your life if you cannot release it.
Two weeks ago I asked you to let go of the rope and fall into the arms of God. My request was for all of us to let go of the things that we are holding on to that were hindering us. This morning I am asking you to let go of something else – your guilt from your past sins. Let them go.
In Psalms 32, David evaluates his life, his unconfessed sins as compared to those who had confessed their sins. Now I am sure that all of you have previously confessed your sins, but I like this Psalms because of the conclusion that David comes to. Look at this with me.
David starts the Psalm by saying, “Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.” The word blessed here means happy, joyful. Happy is the man whose sins are forgiven. Have you ever offended someone and had to go back and repent and ask forgiveness? Remember the
“in the mean time” the time between the offense and the asking for forgiveness. Remember how you acted – the shame you felt, the tension, replaying the situation in your head? Finally you approach the person and ask for forgiveness. When they forgive you and you hug and make up, remember that feeling? There is such a release that the situation is finally over you are able to resume your life. This is what David was talking about – it was such a release that it brings joy – happiness. He also states that the sins are covered. What does it mean to “cover” something? It means that it is no longer in sight, no longer can people see it and use it against you. The Greek word also means, “to conceal”. To conceal something means to hide it or keep it a secret. What David is saying is that when our sins are forgiven, they are hidden as if they never happened. Also remember, Christ paid the price for our sins and through Him we are cleansed as if our sins never happened. Now we know that when people know your failures they do not want to let you forget them, but when God forgives you, their opinion no longer matters. David said the person whose sins are forgiven – whose sins are covered. Paul also referenced this in Roman 4:7-8 when he was talking about our being justified by faith. When our sins are forgiven, the “result” of the guilt should cease. It should stop hindering us from moving forward in our lives. Now here comes the good part because he elaborates more on what he is saying. “Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.” This is deep. It would appear that he was talking about two different things here, but is he? Again he states that the person is blessed whose sin the Lord does not count against them. The last part of the sentence stresses in whose spirit is no deceit. Why does this appear here? The person who is honest with God will receive a pardon. We cannot hide our sins from God, nor can we justify them, when we openly confess them, we are forgiven. When you get to the point where you are tired of the sin, you confess it to go and release it; you are able to enjoy a new, full life – complete without the guilt. Do you understand what I am saying to you? When you release the guilt because those things were part of your past, you begin to look towards your future. The past no longer dictate your future – everyday is a new day. The person who is pardoned is taught to deal honestly with himself, his sin and his God. Forgiveness is no sham and the peace that it brings is not caused by playing tricks with your conscience.
Having said that, David takes a look at his life and talks about his own experience. The instructor who testifies about what he himself has experienced is able to touch the hearts of those to whom he is speaking. He said, “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.” Carrying around the guilt and the sins that he had not confessed had a physical reaction on him – he literally became weak – his energy was gone. His guilt caused him to lament heavily until he could no longer speak, but was given to groaning. You cannot understand the pangs of conviction until you have fully been there. Have you ever met or known someone who could not forgive themselves or let go of something to the point that they became physically sick? David ad sins that he had not confessed – he kept them within, until he began to get sick. Last wee Rev. Fulks preached about being in your right mind. In her message she talked about things we do and not do when we are in our right mind. Unconfessed sins and sins that you have confessed but you cannot let go of will get you out of your “right mind” because it has an impact on the things that you do? Let them go.
David went on to say “For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was drained away with the fever heat of summer.” Ever been out in the heat of summer - when you come in and you find yourself without any energy. This is how David describes what he was feeling when God was dealing with him. During this time, you cannot rest peacefully, nothing seems right and your internal joy is gone. Unconfessed transgressions, like fierce poison, dries up the fountain of a man’s strength. Through all of this, David realized he needed a change, he needed deliverance.
David came to his right mind – look at what he said, “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, I will confess my transgressions to the Lord and you forgave the guilt of my sin.” David came to himself and confessed his sin, then he received forgiveness as God took away the sin. Can you see the process? He received his blessing and was able to move forward. Notice, not only was the sin itself pardoned, but the iniquity of it, the virus of its guilt was put away – as soon as the sin was acknowledged. God’s pardons are deep and thorough; the knife of mercy cuts at the roots of the ill weed of sin. David said when God forgave his sin; he also took away the guilt – that result of sin that was causing him much grief. You must remember, it is the guilt from the sin that causes us the grief – not the sin itself. It is knowing that we have sinned against our Father that causes the unrest in our spirit. When David confessed his sins, he received forgiveness and he was able to be free from the guilt.
Where does this leave us? Remember that I said that the guilt from your past sins – that you have confessed – should not negatively impact your future – it’s time to let it go. I am on so foolish to believe just because I say let it go – you immediately do so – but I want you to start the process. See it for what it “was” not “is”. God forgave you and when he did the guilt “should” have went with it. Remember, through Christ, once you repent from your sins, you are proclaimed not guilty. He took on our guilt – that which we should have had – He took it on.
I want to close with this last Scriptural reference, then we are going to have prayer to start our process. Romans 3:22-24 says “Even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe, for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.” The term justification came from the Israelite law courts. Greek translation means Acquittal. An innocent judgement of the accused. The judge who would state the innocence of a person may have very well been one of the accusers. If this was the case, the justification becomes a vindication. God is the judge who justifies or condemns the people, therefore God justifies sinners. In other words, God proclaims us innocent of our sins when we repent because another has taken our place – Jesus Christ His Son. What this means is that we have no more accusers at this point and therefore we should be able to release the guilt. We start the process by fully acknowledging what we did, accept God’s forgiveness and begin to live for our future. When it comes back up, whether from you, Satan or someone else, just confess to whoever it is, yes that was my past, but not my future. Your future starts today, right here, right now. You can do whatever you choose to do with it, but understand you do have help. What will you do, start anew or live in the bondage of the guilt of your past sins. I ask you to start new – envision what your potential and your possibilities are and go for it.
Today is the day we become like David – a day for deliverance. Talk to God, accept His forgiveness and allow Him to remove your guilt.